The Technological and the Human in Contemporary Society: Artifacts, Devices and Representations

Monday, 11 July 2016: 16:45
Location: Hörsaal 15 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Jorge CARDIEL, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico
My research project is located at the convergence of Social Studies of Technology, Anthropology and Social Systems Theory, mainly focused at emerging and potential relations of humans and technological artifacts through the organizing processes of social formations. Relying on Luhmann’s distinction between social structure and semantics, on the medium/form distinction, and on the concept of structural coupling, the questions guiding this paper are: ¿How social structures that couple the human and the technological are formed? ¿How a device emerges, which is both social form and material support? ¿How does contemporary society includes and excludes the technological in its representations of the human? ¿Which social movements appear, searching to uncouple or to couple in alternative ways the human and the technological?

In this study I observe how some communications of contemporary society react to an increasing interdependence between humans and technology and reflect on how technological proliferation modifies the human condition. To achieve my aims, I analyze certain outcomes creating public opinion (newspapers, radio, television and social media), artworks, literature, and technological metaphors and metonymies in contemporary philosophical thought.

By thinking the human as a bio-psycho-social event from a social systems theory approach, my aim is to observe not only the structural couplings between psychical (consciousness) and social systems (communication), but also how biological (corporality) and technological systems (devices, artifacts) are implicated in the formation of social structures of interaction. This means complementing Luhmann’s theory, like Jorge Galindo proposes, by recognizing an embodied social form (as in Bourdieu’s notion of habitus) and the presence of social forms surrounding 'non-human' technological artifacts (as in Latour’s actor–network theory).